At the 2019 Diocesan Convention, Bishop Eugene Sutton of Maryland spoke powerfully about racial justice and reparations. The convention responded with a resolution that called for the establishment of a Commission on Racial Justice and Reparations.
The pandemic intervened, but the work did not stop. Then the incomprehensible conclusion to our property litigation happened right on the heels of a record cold spell.
But even as the people of our diocese grieve, reflect on loss, and, in some cases, get used to new worship spaces, they are continuing the vital work of racial reconciliation and reparations.
In October of 2020, some of our clergy talked in a video about why they are doing this work:
Here is an overview of the continuing work.
Trinity Episcopal Church, Fort Worth
Trinity’s 2021 Wednesday evening Lenten program explored the Anti-Racism Covenant, facilitated by the Peace and Justice Ministry Group. They invited people to “Start your journey now and sign the covenant.” Click here to learn more. Speakers were:
- The Rt. Rev. Deon Johnson, Bishop of the Diocese of Missouri, introduced the Anti-Racism Covenant he wrote, which has been adopted by the Episcopal Church.
- The Rev. Sandi Michels, Priest-in-Charge of St. Elisabeth’s and Christ the King Episcopal Church and member of the Tarrant County Coalition for Peace and Justice facilitate the conversation.
- The Rev. Michael Glaspieof Mount Olive Baptist Church, a civic leader in Arlington and author of Unity in the Community: How to Bring the Community Together, led the conversation
- Minister Regenia Crane, Co-Pastor of Truevine Missionary Baptist Church, Fort Worth, discussed the challenges of educating our youth in a society still struggling with racism.
- Trinity’s rector, Robert Pace, hosted a discussion centering on the important question of “Where do we go from here?”
This summer, Trinity is sponsoring a summer film series to continue the conversation about anti-racism. Trinity’s Peace & Justice Ministry Group invites parishioners to gather on Zoom in June, July, and August for a discussion of three films. Each one is based on historical persons or events important in Black History and will provide the basis for our continuing discussion of anti-racism topics. Parishioners will watch the films at their leisure and then gather for a discussion on the following dates:
- June 16: 42 starring Harrison Ford and Chadwick Boseman
Available to rent on YouTube
- July 21: Men of Honor starring Cuba Gooding, Jr., and Robert de Niro
Available on Amazon Prime
- August 18: 13th directed and written by Ava DuVernay, featuring multiple social justice leaders, including Bryan Stevenson, Van Jones and many more
Available on Netflix
Zoom invitations will be available on the Trinity website
St. Luke’s in the Meadow, Fort Worth
Rector Karen Calafat reported, “June 2021 marked the year anniversary since St. Luke’s in the Meadow parishioners listened to Bishop Wm Barber’s sermon preached at the National Cathedral on June 14, 2020 on issues of racism in America. Their immediate response was, ‘We’ve got to do something. What can we do?’
“I suggested we begin by learning more about racism and we started weekly book studies. We have read and discussed deeply the following books: White Fragility, Just Mercy, His Truth is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope, Dear Church, and Between the World and Me. We have also watched and discussed many TED Talks on topics of racism and anti-racism. St. Luke’s joined Trinity’s race studies during the season of Lent this year. Now that our move is complete and we are settling into a new routine, our book studies on racism/anti-racism will resume on June 15th.
“Now that the pandemic is easing, we plan to be actively involved and civic opportunities to advocate for our siblings of color. The conversation continues and we watch for opportunities to make a positive difference in our community.
“I have represented St. Luke’s and 4Saints at the Fort Worth Interfaith Clergy group. That group contracted with Estrus Tucker for a weekly conversation through the summer last year. FWIC is also exploring opportunities to be more active in the city on issues of anti-racism.”
The Rev. Karen Calafat uses weekly to open and close the study is Race and Prayer, Collected Voices, Many Dreams, editors Malcolm Boyd and Chester Talton.
The Episcopal Church of the Resurrection, Decatur
The Episcopal Church of the Resurrection began a study group called Decatur’s Orange Wednesday Group. Orange stands for Objectors Refusing racism And Nurturing God’s Equality
The name was based on the Bishop’s Against Gun Violence color. Lydia Hiatt created the acrostic.
On May 19, 2021, the group began meeting weekly at 7 pm via ZOOM, using a study provided by the National Church called The Sacred Ground Dialogue Series. https://www.episcopalchurch.org/sacred-ground/webinars/
Why are they. doing this? “This group desires to pursue a deeper understanding of the history and current challenges in achieving racial justice and equality, using this national church program as a resource.”
The email sent out to participants by coordinator Angie Whitley said,
Howdy to my Sacred Grounders!!
I will be your cruise director for at least the next two Wednesdays! We have determined that there is SO much to watch/read/learn/digest in this series, that each Session will be broken into at least 2 parts. We will not stifle progress by moving to the next Session if we have not completed what we want to complete. So our syllabus will be a bit fluid. But fear not! The group will be making sure that everyone is aware of when and what we are doing well in advance.
Attached, please find the Syllabus by Session, the Sacred Ground Dialogue Norms and Becoming Beloved Community Handouts. Please review each attachment before next Wednesday. We will review the Dialogue Norms handout before we begin our discussion next week as a refresher for the group.
For Session 1, Part 1 on May 19th – Stepping Onto Sacred Ground – we will come to the Zoom Group having watched the Documentary American Creed. It is 86 minutes long and the video is posted in the password protected area of the Sacred Ground website under Session 1. https://www.episcopalchurch.org/sacred-ground/welcome Please watch and take notes so that you can refer back to them during our discussion. I plan to have a number of thought provoking questions for the group to ponder.
For Session 1, Part 2 on May 26th – Stepping on to Sacred Ground – please read the articles/excerpts listed below. A link to each of these items is available under Session 1 in the password protected area of the Sacred Ground website. You will see that the Group Prep Documents are listed, this is for anyone who was not on our Zoom Group the night we discussed the forming of our Sacred Ground Circle. (I will resend this section out after next week’s group so that everyone sees it a second time)
- Summary sheet: Becoming Beloved Community: The Episcopal Church’s Long-term Commitment to Racial Healing, Reconciliation and Justice
- Sacred Ground preparatory documents: “Invitation and Introduction,” “Organizing a Dialogue Circle” and “Participant Preparation Guide” (all found on the Sacred Ground “Getting Started” webpage)
- Column: “Black History Is Everyone’s History” by Leonard Pitts, Jr.
- Excerpt from essay: “Not Somewhere Else, But Here” by the Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker
- Excerpt from book: Healing Our Broken Humanity: Practices for Revitalizing the Church and Renewing the Worldby Grace Ji-Sun Kim and Graham Hill
- Selection from book: America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New Americaby Jim Wallis (bottom of p. 103 to p. 109 from hardback edition)
If we cover everything in 2 weeks for Session 1, we will move on to Session 2 for June 2. If not, we will plan for another week – not an issue! Susy will be the Group Facilitator for Session 2: The Roots of Whiteness, and Deeper Roots. She will provide details on what to prepare for the first part of Session 2 in the coming weeks.
But Wait!!! There’s More: we have not assigned all the Sessions to folks to facilitate, so if you are interested, we can discuss plans for future Sessions in the coming weeks. Please take a look at the Syllabus and let us know if you are interested in a particular topic! Ellen is tentatively looking at Session 3 and Leigh is interested in Session 4. We can also have co-leaders if anyone wants to share responsibility for a Session.
***As a reminder*** If you cannot watch the video or read the materials, that’s perfectly ok! We know that life happens and would prefer you join anyway versus missing out altogether. So no pressure.
I really am excited to be embarking on this educational journey with y’all & look forward to next Wednesday.
St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Keller
St. Martin’s is using the Human Flourishing I program at St. Martin’s. It is a 1-year program that began in September ’20 and will conclude in June ’21.
The Rev. Paula Jefferson wrote, “We have become a tight community! Even though we meet exclusively with Zoom, we have experienced vulnerability, trust, and developed shared language for Human Flourishing. One of our regular attendees is a lawyer in Washington DC. Crazy! We have learned a thing or two about proximity through this experience.
“As we come to the end of this learning, we’re beginning to focus on our allyship opportunities. Fever United, the soccer team who uses our acreage for practice, is a large and diverse community. We are deepening our relationship with the soccer club.
“[Recently], we began talking about doing allyship work with an ecumenical team. There’s a synagogue in Colleyville and a mosque in Hurst. We’d like to open conversation with these worship places to see if partnerships can evolve. Along similar lines, we wondered about the AME congregations in Fort Worth.
“Finally, we have struggled regularly with our “Radical Hospitality Practiced Here” slogan. As we learned about ourselves and grow, we realized that our openness to welcome is not static; we are becoming radical welcomers. Our Human Flourishing group adopted a new line: God thought Creation was incomplete without you. This is a statement that invites us to see God in each person (Other) and to want to know the Other.
Next year, for Human Flourishing II, the group has asked to explore gender. Biological discoveries re: gender, psychological perspectives, theological perspectives.
The Arc of Human Flourishing
St. Martin began a journey into the theology of Human Flourishing this Fall. Dr. Scott Bader-Saye offered a lecture that provided both a theological and Christian moral foundation for our discussions. 20 intrepid souls signed up to read and discuss White Fragility: why it’s so hard for white people to talk about racism. Our conversations were substantive and meaningful. We do not all share the same perspectives, but we do all share mutual respect and we are learning to talk about difficult subjects like racism.
White Fragility concluded on November 24th. The following week, we began reading and discussing Presiding Bishop Curry’s newest book, Love is the Way. Bp Curry offers us insight about his life in America: black, a preacher’s kid, and, eventually, Episcopal priest. His writing is anecdotal and theological. This is a charming read. We will conclude Love is the Way before Epiphany season.
Bp. Curry’s writing inspired a question among our group: “What does the Bible really say about human sexuality”? We watched a YouTube lecture recorded at Palmer Episcopal Church in Houston (2012). Dr. L. Michael White holds the Ronald Nelson Smith Chair in Classics and Christian Origins at the University of Texas Austin. His lecture, “The “H” Word: What the Bible says about Homosexuality”, invited us to explore Scripture through its original language and meaning.
During the season of Epiphany we will tackled a more challenging read, one that invited us to understand why humans are divided—in religion, in politics, and so forth. It will seek to explain why humans commit violence in the name of God. DJ Mitchell has facilitated our White Fragility conversations gracefully and he will return to the role of facilitator for Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence. This is a timely read, authored by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.
From Rabbi Sacks’ book, we transitioned to Christian authorship with The Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor’s Speaking of Sin: The Lost Language of Salvation. We marveled at the connections between Sacks and Brown and we began to intersect the secular writing of White Fragility with our understanding of sin and human flourishing.
Finally, we conclude the year one track of Human Flourishing with an important offering from Shannon Craigo-Snell & Christopher J. Doucot– No Innocent Bystanders: Becoming an Ally in the Struggle for Justice. This book intersects with our previous readings and it helps us become more self-aware as we begin to imagine ourselves as allies. We will conclude this book with a lecture from The Rev. Danielle Tumminio-Hansen, PhD. Danielle will connect our opening lecture (Bader-Saye) and our learning to the Deacon’s dismissal: Send us forth, Danielle, in the name of Christ!
St. Alban’s worshiping in Theatre Arlington
The Rev. Kevin Johnson wrote:
Last summer we developed Becoming Mark 12:31, an ongoing experience of exploring, recognizing, and addressing racial bias within ourselves and our community.
Becoming Mark begins with self-study. We supplied a curated annotated bibliography of resources using a variety of media and presentation styles for individuals to engage with over the summer months. We began with self-study thinking that this would provide a context of less combative curiosity. During this period the vestry wrote and adopted A Statement on Racial Justice, which is posted on our website.
Following the self-study period we created small group conversation opportunities, using the Living Room Conversation format. Each three-session group was hosted and facilitated by a trained lay leader. We paid Linda Taylor to do the training and develop the topic questions. The leader selected a conversation starter document, such as Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man.
Part III was large group conversation. We did this in combination with Trinity’s Lent program. We also brought in Dr. Jason Shelton the director of the Center for African American Studies at UTA and Scherron Richard from Arlington’s Unity Council to talk with us about equitable housing. This conversation was a major impetus towards our commitment to include attainable housing in our Gathering Project, an action beyond the words.
We’re going to have an all-parish event with a private group tour of the Arlington Art Museum’s 30 Americans exhibit, showcasing 30 emerging and established African American artists of the last three decades, which promises to catalyze thought. We’ll follow it up with an organized large group conversation to process the experience. In addition, I’ve been more purposeful about incorporating issues of equity and valuing others’ differentness into my sermons.
It’s an ongoing process. But we’re relentlessly moving forward.
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Stephenville
The Rev. Bradley Dyche wrote:
We, in conjunction with an Eagle Scout, the diocese, established a 24-7, take what you need, leave what you can, “Red Door Pantry.” It is located by our Food Pantry. While I realize that this might not necessarily be racial justice, most of our clientele are folks who are LatinX and work on local dairy farms.
We also celebrated an Anniversary liturgy (online) with the historically black church in town (a church founded by enslaved people), and She, I and the Korean-soon-to-be-Korean-American are hosting the UMC churches in town and the newly formed Greek Orthodox Church in town to see how we can partner on projects, which includes issues around white supremacy. Many of us also participated in a local Stephenville BLM protest last summer. Here, that was planned in conjunction with the police department (BC we had to) and the University.
So, the short answer, we’ve been doing lots of stuff. We also have not done enough.
Bill Stanford, chair of the Commission on Racial Justice and Reparations, wrote
Karen [Calafat], Janet [Waggoner], and I went to the first meetings of interracial clergy May 20 and 24 in conjunction with the Fort Worth Interfaith Clergy (formerly Cattle Country Clerics).
Our first meeting was at the invitation of a group of black pastors that wanted to join with us in work and prayer for racial justice in Fort Worth. We met at Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church. The time was a meet and greet along with an overview of what the group hopes to accomplish. We also individually partnered up with black pastors to begin weekly prayer with one another.
Our second meeting was at Como Missionary Baptist Church to view the online stream of “The Other Boys of Summer” a documentary about the Negro Baseball League. A discussion period followed.
This alliance is to facilitate racial justice in Fort Worth and hopes to be an instrument of peace.
Unity Across the City, A Season of Hope, Help, and Healing for the Community
Note: The Rev. Karen Calafat, the Rev.Canon Janet Waggoner, and the Rev. Bill Stanford are among the white allies working with the Black pastors.
The Circle of Clergy, a group of Black clergy and white, interfaith clergy allies, is offering Unity Across the City, A Season of Hope, Help, and Healing for the Community. The goal is to build unity in the community across racial lines to foster hope, help, and healing in the wake of the tragic death of Miss Atatiana Jefferson on October 12, 2019. The trial of the police officer who shot her is soon to be scheduled.
For the Love of the Game is a 4 -week series of gatherings built around the themes of Conversation, Vaccination, Reconciliation, and Celebration, all contained within a frame of American’s Game, baseball, to connect across differences and to begin to defuse tensions in the community.
The series culminates in a Project the Positivity Night with the Texas Rangers Baseball Club at 7:05pm at Globe Life Field on Monday, August 30, 2021, when the Rangers take on the Colorado Rockies. Retired 82-year-old Pastor Floyd S. Moody, Sr., will throw out the first pitch. See Week Four below for ticket information.
WEEK ONE | CONVERSATION: Documentary – The Other Boys of Summer, the story of the Negro League Baseball players, Tuesday, August 3rd, 6:30 p.m. at Texas Wesleyan University, Ann Waggoner Fine Arts Building, Martin Hall, 1309 Wesleyan St., Fort Worth, TX 76105. Tickets are free but limited to 250 participants. Donations will be accepted to cover the cost of this event. Email or call The Rev. Karen Calafat to reserve a place for yourself, children, family and friends: email@example.com or 214-862-7100.
WEEK TWO | VACCINATION: August 14th, 5:00-9:00 p.m. 1409 Ellis Ave., Suite 105, Fort Worth. The God Squad COVID-19 Black on Base BBQ & Block Party and LULAC Council will provide the community an opportunity to come out and learn the facts about the Covid-19 vaccinations while we enjoy food, fun, and fellowship in the neighborhoods that are most vulnerable to attracting the Delta variant of the virus.
WEEK THREE | RECONCILIATION: Join the Circle of Clergy’s Unity Across the City Service at Dickies Arena at 4pm, Sunday, August 22nd to build hope, help, and healing in the wake of the tragic death of Miss Atatiana Jefferson. 1911 Montgomery St, Fort Worth, TX 76107. Everyone is invited to attend this important event where faith and community leaders from across the city are coming together for a day of reconciliation within our beloved city.
“In a time when our city needs to come together after a year of isolation and confusion, 2 Chronicles 7:14 reminds of the biblical solution to our division, “14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
“We are calling together every religion, every race, from every region to join us as we heal and rebuild our city,” the group said in a statement.
WEEK FOUR | CELEBRATION: Project the Positivity Night with the Texas Rangers Baseball Club at 7:05 pm at Globe Life Field on Monday, August 30, 2021 when the Rangers take on the Colorado Rockies and retired 82-year-old Pastor Floyd S. Moody, Sr., will throw out the first pitch. There are 2500 seats in the $40 All-you-can-eat section reserved for the Circle of Clergy churches, synagogues, temples, and parishes. Click the link and be sure to select the $40 All-you-can-eat tickets so we will all be seated together. https://offer.fevo.com/texas-rangers-v-rockies-6lv3chl-22d2065?fevoUri=texas-rangers-v-rockies-6lv3chl-22d2065%2F
For more information on Unity Across the City, contact Pastor Ken Jones at (817)738-3618 or Pastor Ryon Price at (817) 336-5761.